People who inherit timeshares forced to pay “for eternity”


THOUSANDS of people are being forced to inherit timeshare holiday homes because loved ones have been caught up in contracts that last for “generations”.

Legal experts have warned anyone who passes on their stake in a property is also leaving behind the financial obligations.

But  family members bound by inherited paperwork have no option but to pay for the holiday home for “an eternity” – even if they don’t want to use it.

Campaigners have called for new rules to be introduced
Campaigners have called for new rules to be introduced


Campaigners have now called for an “intervention” and said the law should be changed to stop distressed loved ones being “burdened” with debt.

Emma Myers, a will specialist at Cogent Law, said part of the reason people are trapped is because individuals cannot sell their stake unless the new buyer has been cleared by the owner of the property.

She said: “Thousands are burdened with timeshare properties they receive as beneficiaries of relatives’ estates.

“Problems arise because an ‘in perpetuity’ contract locks them into annual upkeep costs.

“Sadly the beneficiaries cannot cherry-pick what they inherit and cannot therefore shed the responsibility.”

It is thought that around 40% of the 600,000 Brits involved in timeshare properties want out but their contract has locked them in for life – a contract that is being passed on to loved ones after their death.

One person – who did not want to be named – inherited a Scottish property after it was bought in perpetuity by his aunt in the ate 1980s.

He said: “I’ve now been told I have to pay £500 every year for eternity – whether is use the property or not.

“This will also be passed onto my children when I die – it’s scandalous. I cannot afford these annual charges.”

Rhoda Grant – Scottish Labour’s enterprise spokeswoman – said: “The fact that many Scots are locked into contracts in perpetuity has long been an issue.

“But in this economic climate there needs to be some sort of intervention.

“I would urge the Scottish Government to seek legal advice on this area and identify any support which could be available to the thousands of Scots who are paying escalating annual charges that may be passed on indefinitely to future generations.”

Timeshare companies admit they are aware of the issue but said as it stands there is nothing that can be done.

Macdonald Resorts – a timeshare operator – said: “We are working closely with our club committees to try and find a solution.”



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  1. I have just been told that ‘in perpetuity’ means for the lifetime of the member, and that it dies with them unless they sell or transfer it. If somebody dies and leaves you their estate, which includes the timeshare, if you do not register or transfer the ownership, that surely is that? Are you seriously saying that the timeshare companies will be going through wills at probate to see who it was left to and chasing that person? what if it is not specifically mentioned and there are 5 beneficiaries? who would they chase? and more to the point, how would they chase them? i think that the timeshare companies have scared everyone out of their wits, with no actual back-up. And, if you are that worried make specific reference to the timeshare in your will and leave it to the Managing Director of the company you have it with, they can try and chase you in death but i don’t fancy their chances!!!

  2. What you may be “told” is irrelevant where a contract is involved.

    The contract will define what is meant by “In perpetuity” within the contract, and that is what the parties who sign it will be bound to.

    So each party should check the fine print to learn what it means for them.

    Given that time-share is just a form of legal scam in many cases, I imagine the claim stated in the article is right, and the bills will transfer to the next of kin, or beneficiaries of the deceased estate, as applicable.

  3. That is exactly what has happened to us , three beneficiaries and the timeshare company has found out the contents of the will and wants all three siblings to carry on paying indefinitely, we are taking it to court

  4. Because your timeshare contract will certainly establish what happens to your timeshare when you die in one of its clauses, I highly recommend you to read the timeshare agreement cautiously. Some timeshares can be inherited, while others can be owned by more than one person, however, whatever the contract says, the truth is that all of the clauses will always benefit the resort. Also, ask as many questions as possible during the presentation if you are seriously considering acquiring a fractional ownership.

  5. My parents have me listed with a timeshare company to inherit their timeshare. I don’t want anything to do with it, but I don’t want to insult them. I see it as being given a bill in the form of annual maintenance fees. Is there a way to disinherit the timeshare when my parents pass?

  6. The timeshare industry has been into the lion’s mouth for the last couple of years, and it has generated lots of controversy and discussions in many forums and blogs on the web. However, since we’re living an economic downturn, anyone would expect that the timeshare sales collapse, but instead of that the sales seem to be increasing… but this comes with a trap: timeshare scams are increasing too. That leads us to the question: then, why keep people investing on timeshares?

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